1. New to Christmas lighting? Get started with the AusChristmasLighting 101 Manual:
    auschristmaslighting.com/wiki/AusChristmasLighting-101

Gearing up in New Zealand...

Discussion in 'RGB Lights - Intelligent Pixels and 3-Channel RGB' started by Eben, Dec 12, 2012.

  1. Eben

    Eben New Elf

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    I hope this is the right place to post this question.


    I live in Auckland, NZ and was hoping there might be some Kiwi's out there that can help with a few questions.


    I've decided to dive into the deep end and go full blown RGB on my lights next year (I've never sequenced anything before, but how hard could it be? I'm a software developer by day so it doesn't really scare me that much).


    I've spent the last 2 days researching and I've figured out that the best way to do this would be with LSP and a J1SYS ECG-P12R (maybe 2 or 3 eventually). From what I can gather I can drive quite a few pixels from one of these.


    My question is this: Where and how do I buy Lights? The J1Sys is easy as they ship internationally and LSP I can get online. The lights are a bit more tricky. What brand of light should I be looking at? I'm currently leaning towards getting a 100m roll or something and just cutting it up and wiring it to the controllers (doesn't seem to be that difficult from all the documentation I've read on this forum already).


    If anybody has any experience with setting this up in NZ I would appreciate any information you're willing to share with me!


    As always if I'm not on the right track would someone please point me in a better direction? I'd prefer not to spend a small fortune, this seems to be the cheapest way to get started with a full blown pixel setup.
     
  2. AAH

    AAH I love blinky lights :) Community Project Designer

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    Welcome to ACL Eben.
    Just by coincidence 1 of the best new displays of 2012 is by ShellNZ who is in your neighbourhood. If you have a look on the display locations link at the top of the page you'll be able to see where her location is. Shell has a great mix of pixels and dumb elements and even though she is using LOR she could give you a running start with what to do and what to look out for. Shell has a video up on the site somewhere so if you search by posts by ShellNZ you'll be able to see what a novice blinkyhead can do with a few months of devoted work.
     
  3. logandc99

    logandc99 Dedicated Elf

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    Hi Eben,
    I have had a go at doing an animated light show this year, but i am using LOR, not LSP. Much of my display is static as we have a big brick wall in front of our place and so we allow people to come into the property and wander around amongst the lights. But at one end I have setup the musical animated part using dumb RGB modules and strip lights mixed in with some conventional LEDs. I have used LOR's DC controller boards as i want to keep my display low voltage for various reasons but safety is a big one, especially with children wandering around. A good source of lights is Ray Wu who has an oline store on the Alliexpress website 9search Ray Wu Store in google). So far his stuff has been reliable and a lot of people use him as a source for their lights. There are probably other sources but I have only used him.
    As mentioned above, ShellNZ also has an animated display which is excellent (check out her video) and I know she has delved into the world of pixels (something i plan to get into next year) so she would be a great source of info, especially with regards to pxel lights and controllers.
    Welcome to the fun by the way.
     
  4. fasteddy

    fasteddy I have C.L.A.P Global Moderator Generous Elf

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    Welcome to ACL, As the guys have said previously Shell should be able to assist as well as there are a few other Kiwis that also do the same thing, so check out the members locations.

    Just be aware that the ECG-P12R will only drive pixels, these dont come in 100 metre rolls and they run on either 12vdc or 5vdc. So voltage drop can be an issue. Take your time and dont rush into anything and ask lots of questions in the forum or the chat room if your not sure on something
     
  5. OP
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    Eben

    Eben New Elf

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    Thanks for the replies, I've since learnt that Ray Wu seems to be the place to buy lights from.


    I'm aware that the ECG-P12R will only do pixels (this is fine by me as I want to have all the lights be intelligent - I can dumb them down in software if need be or I can always add a LOR later).


    Could someone point me to which LED strips or lights I should be purchasing? I can't seem to find any information on the IC types in the LED rope light section which leads me to believe that they might be dumb...


    One poster commented that they do not come in 100m rolls what's the "bulk buy" options for smart pixels?
     
  6. AAH

    AAH I love blinky lights :) Community Project Designer

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    If you're not looking at trying to get going in the next few days I wouldn't even be looking at buying until in the new year. Late this year the 2811 chipset pixels came out and they were significantly cheaper than anything else out there. The delivery time is usually 1 to 3 weeks so it's unlikely you could be going for Christmas even if you tried and with the possibility of bigger and better things appearing in the new year would have me waiting till at least Feb or March before lashing out on pixels and controllers.
     
  7. fasteddy

    fasteddy I have C.L.A.P Global Moderator Generous Elf

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    RGB strips generally come in lengths of 5 metres and the best value strip to use is the 2811 IC strip.

    RGB strings come in lengths of 50 in 5vdc

    Now dont confuse strip with rope light as these are very different in their construction.

    If you havent already found the ACL 101 lighting manual then you should start there
     
  8. OP
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    Eben

    Eben New Elf

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    I've spent more time reading. Read the 101 guide all the way through. Should have done that to start with, will teach me to skim read as there's a lot of info in sections I wouldn't have initially expected it. I now believe that I'd be able to put it together without much hassle.

    In regards to AHH cautioning me about starting now... I've already done all I'm going to do for this year and its pretty lame with some off the shelf lights and no sequencing. I'm planning on setting all of this up for Halloween next year. The whole reasonin behind rgb is that I can leave them up till Xmas and just change the software.

    Now the biggest problem is figuring out if I want all strip or add some strings. Starting to look like I might need 3 or 4 ECG p12r controllers. Strips and strings will probably allow me to do everything I have in mind.

    Quite a bit of planning and calculating ahead of me. I really want 3001 lights for some reason, guess its the geek in me thinking about the extra control.

    My plan is to get the most intelligent system and layout I can build and afford and just enhance the software year over year.

    Now tell me I'm crazy!!!
     
  9. fasteddy

    fasteddy I have C.L.A.P Global Moderator Generous Elf

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    You will gain nothing from using 3001 lights using an ECG because the 3001 lights are 12 bit but both DMX and E1.31 are 8 bit. So reality is you would be spending money on something that will give you no real benifit.
    I hope you have deep pockets as this hobby can get very expensive very quickly with ambitious plans
     
  10. kevr

    kevr Full Time Elf

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    Hi Eban, good to see another Kiwi on the site and dipping his toes in the water. You are right the RGB 101 manual is by far the most concise sourse of information around.

    This site is full on into RGB so I'm sure you'll get all the help you need. I am also getting into RGB next year and have chosen to go to LSP, once again lots of experts on this here!!

    Kev :)
     
  11. AAH

    AAH I love blinky lights :) Community Project Designer

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    On top of the dmx standard being 8 bits LSP is only 1-100 unless it has been updated in the last few months which is not quite 7 bits. LOR has 8 bit/256 level support for dmx. Vixen I'm not sure about. I am sure that before too much longer 8 bit support will be put onto the LSP agenda.
     
  12. kane

    kane Dedicated Elf

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    Not sure that's actually the case - I was under the impression that since I've been using LSP (less then 2 years) that it's always been 8 bits - 0-255 for all channels - here's a couple spots that seem to suggest this (and this isn't a recent change)
    Or is there something else happening that I don't know about :)
     

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  13. Robbo

    Robbo Full Time Elf

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    welcome to ACL, as far as christmas displays goes, setting up in NZ is no different to setting up in Australia, we both are in spring/summer period, and if anything NZ is a little bit better off not having to worry about the heat we can get in Australia, I myself am from Auckland but living in Melbourne now, so where abouts in Auckland are you? I might be able to check your display out next year :)
     
  14. OP
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    Eben

    Eben New Elf

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    ɟɐsʇǝppʎ:

    When you say deep pockets, what do you mean by deep?


    Robbo:


    I'm in Stonefields (the old Quarry in Mt Wellington), people seem to be getting into the lighting thing but no light shows yet. I want to take it by storm next year, provided I can source what I want at a reasonable cost. So far it seems reasonable, but it depends on what my partner is after - I'm guessing a couple thousand spend would be ok, since it will be gradual building up to the holiday season next year. I'm guessing I'll have to buy a Pro license for LSP.


    I've also been watching the into videos on the pinned threads, now I have more things I need to consider - I didn't realise how the strip lights work which means the effects I thought I'd be able to do would not be possible - now I'm thinking to pull off what I want I need to double up every strip with a string to create the twinkly light effect and fool people into thinking it's just another boring dumb light setup before it springs to life in full glory!


    Luckily I don't have a huge amount of house facing the road so there's not a lot of space to put things up, but that means I can get crazy stupid with the stuff I do put up right!?


    I'm still dead set on having a 100% pixel setup as it will create a LOT more options year over year as software gets better and I get new ideas.


    I guess since I'm a software developer during the day it's going to keep coming back to software for me instead of hardware alterations.


    The other thing I was thinking about is getting just enough pixels to "get by" for the first year (so it looks no worse than the 10 strings of standard lights (200 and 300 strings). Roughly 2000 pixels will probably do. Having said that I'm almost convinced my partner will want 4000.


    It's starting to look like this might be another one of my infamous $4500 projects....


    This is where you guys should be talking me out of doing something stupid right?
     
  15. fasteddy

    fasteddy I have C.L.A.P Global Moderator Generous Elf

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    Looks like you may have deep enough pockets :D
     

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